Ardis Furnace, photo submitted 1972
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Ardis Furnace
NE corner of Aragon and Antoine streets, Iron Mountain - Dickinson County
Property Type blast furnace
Significant Person JOHN T. JONES
Narrative Description Originally, the Ardis furnace consisted of a huge, fire brick lined, metal tube, 120 feet in length, eight feet in diameter, with a slope of one inch to the foot, and rotated when in operation by electrical power. The tube was supported by huge concrete pillars of graduated sizes. Today all traces of the immense furnace have disappeared, save the concrete pillars, now crumbling and for the most part, in ruin.
Statement of Significance Once crucial to the economy of the region, the Ardis Furnace is a significant site relating to the economic vitality of the entire Upper Peninsula region. Inventor John T. Jones emphasized the need to capitalize on the low grade iron ores of the Upper Peninsula and with his Step Furnace Process developed at the Ardis Furnace and laid the foundation for the eventual successful use of the abundant low grade ores. He developed the Ardis Furnace in 1908. Though the furnace is mostly destroyed, these ruins stand as a monument to a pioneer genius and one man's attempt to rescue the Marquette Iron Range from despair. The Ardis Furnace is currently owned by the City of Iron Mountain and the Menominee Range Historical Foundation.
Marker Name The Ardis Furnace
Marker Text THE ARDIS FURNACE Inventor John T. Jones of Iron Mountain recognized the economic potential of the low-grade iron ore of the Upper Peninsula. He developed a method for processing the ore and built an experimental furnace in 1908, named for his daughter Ardis, to test his theory. The furnace, a huge metal tube lined with firebrick, was placed on an incline and charged with ore. The whole device was rotated by electric motor, with iron suitable for mill use discharged from the lower end of the tube. The experiment was plagued with financial and mechanical problems, and by the close of World War I the Ardis was dismantled, Jones moving to other mining endeavors. Elements of the Jones method were later incorporated into successful processing operations for low-grade iron ores.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1908
Registry Type(s) 06/27/1972 Marker erected
06/29/1972 National Register listed
08/13/1971 State Register listed
Site ID# P22939